Thursday, September 19, 2019

Season of Change

Hello, Dear Friends, I hope you are enjoying these last 
days of summer as we slide softly into Autumn. 

It always seems to come too soon, but if we
glide along with the winds of change on open wings
and a brave heart, we can soar above the fray. 

We are having an early autumn, here in the foothills
near Mt. Rainier.  It's been cool and wet, with an occasional
 warm and sunny afternoon to remind us it is still summer.

When the sun finally dips below the clouds, 
the hills turn golden and the birds gather in 
the tree-tops before flying off to roost in some quiet,
 secret place, known only to them. 

 As the summer season ends,
  the hills are very quiet, 
except for the twitters of nomadic flocks feasting 
on wild plums and berries. 

 I can hear the chuck-chucking of the wood grouse,
and the scolding of the squirrels,
while the little crow family
chatters happily to each other while waiting to join
the larger flock that flies over on their way to roost
deep into the hills.   

The swallows and starlings are still here, dipping and swooping over 
the fields and foothills, assembling
 in large flocks every evening to roost on the wires
along my country road.
I disturb their formation as I make my early morning
journey to my grand-little's house. 
I am pleased to see so many this year, and maybe it 
has to do with the abundant moisture this summer,
providing plenty of mosquitoes. 

By the end of the month they will all be gone
to wherever swallows and starlings go in winter..... traveling 
thousands of miles, then flying all the way back in spring, 
 just because this is home. 

Home - that wonderful place of shelter and warmth, 
where we can surround ourselves with all
 that we love the most.  

This time of year forces us inside after our 
time in the sun, and starts the process of 
making things cozy for the cold months ahead. 

There is nothing cozier than filling the kitchen 
with the scent of apple pie baking in the oven. 

I have been giving pies as gifts this year. 
Who can resist a home-made apple pie from Mom? 

Summer cottons and linens gets washed and packed away.
Quilts, flannels and woolens begin to return. 

It's definitely a process. 

A meditative task, allowing the mind to wander. 
Sorting out life, one load at a time.

And one closet and drawer.......

I'm making room for fall's gatherings, too.

I feel the need to keep things simple, muted, and quiet
this year.
I am trying to stay healthy, centered and steady.

My large family keeps me very busy, and there is
always something going on or someone to worry about.
I try not to worry, but it comes with the job,
although I always give it up to faith.


And then there is the world at large........
It is enough to truly test the faith. 

Although, I do believe that shining a light
on all that is dark, may be humanity's saving grace.
That gives me hope, comfort and courage
despite all that I see and hear.

Speaking of home, Grandpa built a miniature version
for the little ones to enjoy when they visit.
This came as a kit from Home Depot.

A rainbow during construction.

A sign of good blessings.

It fits perfectly, safely tucked into the corner.

Grandpa added screens to the windows
to keep the bugs out and the little ones from
climbing through :)

The shelf holds a toy miniature sink and a two-burner stove.
I found tiny pans and toy fruits and veggies.

Even boys living in wilderness cabins need to eat :)

I managed to paint the deck in between weather systems, too.

I so enjoyed every moment possible in my favorite place, this summer.

I'm definitely feeling the need to slow down,
and take time to enjoy the simple things.

I am in the autumn of my life, now,
and am naturally slowing down,
scaling back, and clearing out all that is
weighing me down.

Soon, Ramblin' Man will be retiring,
and we are busy preparing for that day.

It's another phase of life.
One that we are so fortunate to have achieved.

Image result for Quote: Old age is a privilege

But it does take time to prepare, and we are busy
trying to make this a happy, positive transition.

Another season may be over, Dear Friends, but
now we look forward to the golden beauty of autumn
as we gather the harvest of sweet summer memories.


"You become a worrier by practicing worry. You can
become free of worry by practicing the opposite
and stronger habit of faith. With all the strength and
perseverance you can command, start practicing faith."

- Norman Vincent Peale -

"I'm determined not to worry. So many people poison
every day worrying about the next."

- Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis -

Here is my recipe:

Apple Pie


Thursday, July 4, 2019

Rainy Day Red, White and Blues

Hello, Dear Friends, so here we are, already in July! 

Celebrating our nation's Independence Day. 

As you can see, we are having cool and misty weather,
here in the Great Northwest. 
I have been wearing sweaters and warm flannels
as I try to get some garden chores done. 

I am always behind.....
but I try not to stress - too much. 

I actually witnessed a bind-weed (wild morning glory)
 plant grow 6 inches in one day.
It has invaded my whole side-yard and I need to 
catch up to it, but the rain has slowed me down. 

When I need to take cover from the elements, I hide out here.
No dogs allowed.
Invitation only. 

^    ^
*    *

Sorry guys. 

Although, I do make exceptions. 

This is Lovey. 
She's my # 2 daughter and son-in-law's little one. 
When they are out of town, 
she comes to stay and play. 
She is here for the holiday weekend. 

Kai and Lovey are happy friends and love to play. 

Whitey loves her, too.

They follow me wherever I go......

Except in 'the hide-out.' 
I get to relax a few moments.....
to have a cup of coffee
and a little treat. 

With three faces peering at me
through the gate. 

It's always nice to know that I am never alone.

It's so Zen.....

Until someone in the hills lights off another round of fireworks.
That's when I have to let them in with me
while they all try to climb into my lap.   

I am always so happy when the 4th of July celebrations
are over. I am also very grateful that it rained
so that the fire danger is reduced. 

The garden angel keeps watch over all. 

I planted impatiens in her pots. 

Her birdcage was painted a few years ago,
 (it was shiny gold) and it now has a nice patina - 
a little rusty and mossy. 

I painted the clay pots with gray porch paint.

More impatiens, along with 'creeping charlie',
 in an oval, metal tub for the bottom shelf.
The Mr. drilled holes in the tub for me. 

The tubs are galvanized steel, made in America. 
My Dad would approve. He was President of the local 
Steelworker's Union at one time.
He was a tool and die maker all of his life.

I like that I can see the angel from my kitchen door.

Lovey contemplates the day-bed.

The 'Joseph's coat' rose rises over the arbor
to show off its colors.

One stem could fill a whole vase.
If I could reach it.....

Lovey checks out the petunias and alyssum.
They are so fragrant, especially in the evening.

I also planted two hanging baskets with cherry tomatoes.

And a larger tub with a 'patio tomato' that is
growing like a weed.

Raindrops on young succulents that I
propagated last fall in clay pot saucers,
ready to be planted into larger pots.

The copper watering can was my Mom's.
She always kept it on the kitchen windowsill,
since I was a small child.
She brought that little watering can all the way
across the country from New England where she
(and I) was born.

It is rusty and dented, but it brings back bittersweet memories
of a time and place from long ago.

It must have been a special reminder of those early
days, and the kitchen window views she left behind.

It took me two afternoons to trim the walkway.
It had become quite overgrown.

The ivy took years to get so lush,
but now I am always trying to keep it in bounds.

Our Ford Ranger awaits its next adventure alongside.

The dog kennel on the other side is
 used only when we have large gatherings
to keep the dogs safe with all of
 the comings and goings of vehicles.......

My youngest son built the rock wall and helped
his Dad build the walkway when he was in high-school.

I planted the ivy :)

I keep saucers of water in the side yard for little creatures,
along with a toad house. I've never seen a toad in it,
but I have seen a salamander and a green tree frog.

What is the saying? A rolling stone gathers no moss.

My 2-1/2 year old grandson comes home with me
sometimes, after I help out with him
 and his 17 mos. old twin brothers
2 mornings a week.

We go for walks with Papa and the dogs.

We play with cars and blocks and watch the Mickey Mouse Club
over and over. I know all the songs.....

When I was a little girl, the Mickey Mouse Club
was my favorite show, too.
I loved it so much that my Mom would let me
eat my lunch in the living room so I could watch it.

 I remember being heart-broken when my
Mom went back to work and my baby-sitter refused to
let me watch it at her home during lunch.

She was an older woman who lived in the neighborhood,
and I still remember her name. Mrs. Farenholt.
She was very strict and I didn't like her.
I actually ran away and tried to get back home
so I could watch it.
Several times.
I was only 3.

Now, all these years later, my little grandson
loves the same show, delightfully updated.

We have snacks....

and sometimes I find toys in strange places.....
such as, inside the refrigerator.

We bake cookies and wash up.

Peanut butter cookies are the favorite.
He likes squashing the dough with a fork.

He loves making cupcakes, too (he calls them pupcakes).
He fills the pans with paper liners,
mixes the batter,
helps with the frosting.....

And loves to decorate them with sprinkles.

Um, oh-oh! The bowl of sprinkles
proves too irresistible.....

Sampling his hard work while watching Mickey Mouse.

We have a lot of fun.

I do sleep well after these busy days.

His Mom and Dad hosted a belated Father's Day celebration
last weekend for the whole family,
 with steak, shrimp and chicken kabobs on the grill.

Everyone brought a side dish.

With homemade strawberry shortcake for dessert.
You can see my daughter tucking a little one into a high chair
outside the window.

The pretty drink bar.
Don't you just love the 'muddler' handle?

All the Dads, doing their thing.....

Fun in the sun.

The family keeps growing.
Hard to believe this all started with two
childhood sweethearts.

I think of what kind of world they will inherit
and I have so much hope, despite all of the overwhelming difficulties.
Hope that the younger generations will see what can be
achieved if done with the highest intentions.

Nothing lasting is ever achieved any other way.

To build on all that is good and just,
and disregard all that is not.

I hope that they will honor and respect all who 
came before them that fought for the freedoms 
and liberty we so easily take for granted. 

I hope that they always choose to do the right thing,
no matter how difficult or unpopular,
and that they cultivate the insight and humility 
to recognize what that is.....
 and most importantly, to always take the 
high road through life. 

The view is always so much better. 


"The best rules to form a young man are:
to talk little,
to hear much, 
to reflect alone upon what has passed in company,
to distrust one's own opinions,
and value others that deserve it. 
- Sir William Temple -

"Beyond all other freedoms our greatest liberty
is our ability to choose our attitude. 
-Patricia Ryan Madson-
 Improv Wisdom

"It is something to be able to paint a particular
picture, or to carve a statue, or so to make a few
objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve
and paint the very atmosphere through which we 
look - to affect the quality of the day, that is the
highest of the arts.
- Henry David Thoreau -
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